UPDATE: Justice is served! The alleged tip jar bandit has been busted!
Westside restaurateurs, beware: There is a tip jar bandit on the loose, and she will not rest until she has taken every last one of your quarters!
The young women, said to be Persian, in her mid-20s, of medium or average build, driving a white Infinity, was spotted last Thursday at Seoul Sausage on Mississippi, just off of Sawtelle. One of the employees spotted her reaching her hand gingerly into the tip jar, which didn't have more than five or 10 dollars.
The employees confronted her. According to one of the owners, Yong Kim, the woman became indignant, replying, "What are you talking about?" The employees threatened to call the cops. She threw the money back, in disgust, and stormed out.
But the tip jar bandit was only refining her craft. She struck next on Monday night at Komodo, an Asian fusion spot on Pico, near Robertson, at around 8:45 p.m., 15 minutes before closing time.
"Apparently one of the line cooks had seen this person before, scoping the scene," says one of Komodo's owners, Eric Tjahyadi. "She was on a pretend phone call. That was her M.O. She didn’t purchase anything. She was asking about the menu."
This time, the brazen burglar was a bit more sly. She slyly slipped her hand into the jar not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times, making off with as much as $40 to $50. She left without ordering; only the security camera footage revealed the extant of her crimes.
"Our employees, they live off those tips," Tjahyadi says. "This is their livelihood. It’s in such bad taste."
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Then, on Wednesday night, the bandit appeared at Slicetruck Pizza on Sawtelle, around the corner from Soul Sausage. Again, her shtick was the same: She was on the phone, asked to see the menu and, when the employees weren't looking, she grabbed a fistful of cash from the tip jar. This time she made off with around $30 or $40, according to Slicetruck co-owner Chris Hanley.
Hanley was so annoyed that he posted video of the heist on his website, hoping to catch the notorious Westside tip jar bandit:
Do you recognize the tip jar bandit? If so, contact us immediately. And restaurant employees: Guard those tip jars!